By Austeen Anibe Otene
While I will not be sounding politically correct on this submission, the highlights will reflect on how the unity of Igalas was impeded and how it paved way for the outright steal of the democratic process by Yahaya Bello and his cohorts.
The Igala unity political foundation was looking very formidable prior to the intensity of the political outrage that engulfed the November 16 Governorship election.
The discord was triggered by selfishness and greed by a few people from the Eastern part of the State who did put themselves first above service and submission to the Igala race. Starting from Edward Onoja’s desperation to become deputy governor, he engineered all the conspiracies and lies against the then deputy governor, Elder Simon Achuba just to have him removed from office.
He Edward Onoja, at this point, starts building an all-against team to knock down any perceived opposition against his selfish ambition. An agenda he executed fiercely with all sorts of brutality to stop at nothing in covering the rot and enormous corruption under his watch and that of Yahaya Bello.
While the election drew close, Edward successfully and criminally ousted Elder Simon Achuba using with the aid of coward State House of Assembly to become the deputy governor in an acting capacity and then turned a running mate to Yahaya Bello for the November 16 election. Edward’s devilish and insane actions drew the attention of many well-meaning statesmen within and outside Kogi State who frowned at his selfishness and lack of sincerity and empathy.
At this point, the election became very intense as the soul of the State seem to be hinged on who becomes the next governor while the economic crisis of the State continues to grow as a result of Yahaya Bello’s poor handling of the economy, education, healthcare, and security nosedived and hits its all-time time high.
Obviously, it became very obvious that Yahaya Bello was not sellable hence, the only option open to him is to steal the election while using Edward to sow seeds of discord within the rank and file of the people of Kogi East. Nonetheless, the people of Kogi State were resolute in their decision to democratically eject Yahaya Bello from Lugard’s House and the option available on the table was to support a credible candidate running on another platform other than the APC. This time the PDP was considerably the platform with the reach and rich.
However, greed and selfishness set in because everyone thought Yahaya Bello can be easily defeated regardless, who is standing against him in any election because of the battered pattern at which he ruled the State in a tyranny-like form. This perception was right in some sort of way but again, there are always two sides to every coin. The notion got the aspirants under the PDP focused on themselves and their aspiration as they saw themselves as the only qualified candidate forgetting that Yahaya Bello is a sitting governor under a ruling party controlling all strata of government in a corrupt Nigeria under corrupt leadership. Recall also, the president within the period approved the disbursement of 10billion naira to Yahaya Bello a few days before the election.
While the PDP primaries drew close, lobbying and discussions held sway with diverse permutations. There was a call to front a consensus candidate and such a candidate would be one who is wholesomely acceptable at the grassroots with national linings and existing structure and experience. Unfortunately, no one was ready to seed their aspiration for obviously personal reasons. Inadvertently, those reasons became the bane of the unity front. Yahaya Bello took advantage of the discord within Kogi East politicians and prey on the misfortunes birthed by selfish interests.
The PDP primary thus came with its own flaws and this undertone of external influence to disrupt a peaceful process that received praises for a near-perfect organization. The primary was judged by many to be unsatisfactory because of the manner the Taraba State Governor handled the entire process. This further infuriated and fractured the cohesion amongst all parties involved in the process of electing a flag bearer for the PDP.
Into the election, the camp of the PDP was bridged with diverse disconnect as other aspirants and their supporters saw the PDP flag bearer as illegitimate while also, the handlers for the PDP candidate, with hopes that they have already won the election, started penciling people for advance attacks and vendetta. While their actions irritated a handful of PDP faithful, Yahaya Bello who is as slippery as eel, invaded the polling units with thugs, rascals aided by the Nigerian police to loot and rig the election. In most polling units, the election was never held yet, fake results were announced by the Nigerian Independent National Electoral Commission.
November 16, 2019, will remain in history books as a date when democracy was murdered in Kogi State by Yahaya Bello and his enablers, the Nigerian Police. An election where his supporters killed innocent and harmless people to advance Yahaya Bello’s deceits and selfish agenda.
In the midst of all this massive abuse of a democratic process, Kogi East stood firm against tyranny and oppression regardless of the Federal Government’s conspiracies and manipulations to soothe their crime.
The only opportunity for a comeback for Kogi East is to form a UNITED base and take advantage of their number because politics is just about numbers.
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